Social technologies, on a mass scale, connect people in ways that facilitate sharing
information, thereby reducing the opportunities for marketplace exploitation—whether
by charging more than a competing supplier for otherwise identical goods and services
or charging anything at all for products that simply don’t work.
Sunlight is a powerful disinfectant, and the collective knowledge that powers the Social Web is the sunlight that shines in these new connected marketplaces.
The Social Web dramatically levels the playing field by making information plentiful, just as it also levels businesses and organizations that operate on the principles of making information scarce.
The Social Web exposes the good, the bad, and the ugly, simultaneously raising up what works and putting down what doesn’t without regard for the interests of any specific party.
Web 2.0 technologies—expressed through social CRM, vendor relationship management, collective ideation, customer-driven support forums, and communities where participants engage in all forms of social discourse—act together to equalize the market positions of suppliers, manufacturers, business and organizational leaders, customers and stakeholders.
To again quote Sir Tim Berners-Lee, “If misunderstandings are the cause
of many of the world’s woes, then (we can) work them out in cyberspace. And, having
worked them out, we leave for those who follow a trail of our reasoning and assumptions
for them to adopt, or correct.”
So whether supporting Unilever, P&G, and Nestlé, all working with Greenpeace
to ensure supplier compliance in the use of sustainable palm oil and thereby reducing
environmental damage in no-longer “far away” places like Malaysia, or just making
someone’s day run a little more smoothly by preventing a coffee stain through a simple
innovation like Starbucks’ “no splash” stirring stick, the businesses and organizations
embracing social technologies are delivering better solutions—developed through direct
collaboration with customers and stakeholders—to the world’s woes however large or
small they may be.
Contemporary businesses, cause-based organizations, and governing
authorities are increasingly meeting the challenge of “opening up” and operating with
their customers and stakeholders—often through a similarly empowered and connected
workforce—to deliver self-evident value that gets talked about. For these entities, their
customers, suppliers, and stakeholders are the new source of future innovations and
“marketing,” and therefore also the drivers of long-term growth and success. This is what
social business is all about.
How to Use This Book
This book has three parts: Taking a tip from one of the reviewers of my prior book, I’ve
written this one so that you don’t have to read the whole book! I recognize that you were
already busy before you purchased this book, and that the true cost of any social media
program—at least at the outset—very much includes the opportunity cost of your time.
So, here’s how the book works:
Part I: Social Business Fundamentals
At just over 100 pages, Part I will get you up-to-speed quickly on the primary aspects
of social technology and how it applies to business. Its four chapters include plenty of
examples and references to experts and thought leaders freely accessible via the Web,
along with a set of “hands-on” exercises that will provide you with a firm grasp of social
technology, applied to business.
Part II: Run a Social Business
Part II takes you deeper into the application of social technology to your business or orga-
nization, showing you how business decisions are informed through collaborative soft-
ware and surrounding processes.
Part II provides a starting point for measurement and, like Part I, includes references and pointers that quickly take you further as you develop your specific social business programs and initiatives. Part II concludes with a set of tips and best practices, along with a couple of things not to do—and what to do instead.
Part III: Social Business Building Blocks
Part III takes social technology as it is applied to business down to its basic elements.
More abstract than Parts I and II, Part III includes cases and examples that bring the
essential core social concepts to life.
Engagement and Customer Advocacy, Social CRM,
social objects, and the social graph are all covered (and defined) to give a you a solid understanding of the principles of social business and the use of social technology. Each of the five chapters in Part III presents one key concept, in depth and again with hands-on exercises and additional pointers to online references and thought leaders.